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At what point do you have to say that your HOA is out of control?

At what point do you have to say that your HOA is out of control? I've heard arguments for and against HOAs and both arguments are good ones. The ones about keeping your yard neat and lawn mowed, no broken down cars all legit. But, sometimes an HOA can get out of control and what can you do to get them back in check if no one else wants to take the job.

One of my daughters friends lives in a condo complex that has over 500 units and over the past 5 years the HOA has managed to raise the HOA fees from $125 a month to over $450 and this last January had to put aspecial assessment on each unit for over $12,000 because of their mismanagement of the HOA.

The first thing they did is spent almost every dime the HOA had one little pet projects and didn't leave any type of reserve, well this last winter the siding and the roofs went bad and they had to raise the HOA fees to help build the reserve back up and then do the special assessment to fix the roof and siding.

By doing this, the prices of these units plummeted from $180,000 to a max price of $90,00 in less than six months time. They couldn't find a buyer because of all the problems with the HOA, who wants to buy a unit where the HOA fees are higher than your mortgage payments? Then the sellers had to come out of pocket for the special assessment before close. Really the only people who could sell where those that owned theirs free and clear or it was a short sale or a foreclosure and I can tell you, that you didn't want to see what those units looked like.

But, today was the final straw for our friends and they are organizing a group to get the HOA members out and put new people in, but they can't find anyone to step up that actually wants to take the job, because they have seen the hatred toward the last 5 years of members. Cars have been keyed, front doors toilet papered and garbage dumped outside the HOA members doors. (They don't want to take this on themselves)

What was the straw that broke the camels back? Two weeks ago we were invited over for a Halloween party and dinner. We would eat dinner and then go trick or treating in the complex. Can you think of a better place for a kid to trick or treat, you have a new door every 15 feet. I know when I was a kid, condos or apartment complexes were the places to go if you wanted to get lots of candy fast!

Today all 500 residences got a notice on their doors that trick or treating was not allowed in the in the complex under the new HOA rule that was voted in the night before. It was for the safety of the kids and that if they wanted to re-look at the rule they could vote on it again next year. I'm not sure what the penalty would be if you break this rule, but I'm guessing you would get a nice little ticket from the HOA. (Got to fund their pet projects some how)

Has anyone else ever heard of something like this? This has to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard of and I have to wonder why these people really are just trying to get families with kids to move out.

Respect Realty LLC (Expect More)


At Respect Realty, LLC our agents believe in 100% dedication to client satisfaction.  We specialize in property and land acquisition around the Portland Metro and Vancouver, WA area. We delight in working with first time home buyers and sellers to guide them from start to finish. Our doors are always open and we are always happy to assist you with your real estate questions.


Reach out today, we look forward to talking with you!


Todd Clark and Seraina Aguayo (Owners of Respect Realty)

Respect Realty LLC (Expect More)



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Comment balloon 23 commentsRespect Realty LLC • October 30 2009 10:30PM


I'm no lawyer but what they did with that HOA almost sounds like a crime. A 350% increase in fee is unbelivable.

That board needs to be ousted ASAP and if possible sued for neglect.

Posted by Brian Birkel (Deeb Realty) almost 10 years ago

It wouldn't suprise me if they follow this by banning decorations and Christmas caroling. This board and the management company need to be held accountable by the appropriate state agency. They've done way too much damage to the community.

Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) almost 10 years ago

Hi Todd - Are you sure that complex is in Oregon?  Sounds just like one complex I know about in Sacramento.  The only part of your description I haven't seen in this one is the Halloween one, and for all I know they're doing that one too! 

This complex has gotten so bad that the only buyers for any units are cash-paying investors, and now there are so many nonowner-occupied units and so many owners are behind in their HOA dues, that FHA financing is impossible.  If someone wants to or has to sell, the only ones who can buy are people with all cash, which means more investors, so a beautiful condo community is nearly all renters.  The owners who live there can't afford to stay but can't afford to sell either.  The self-important HOA board members have destroyed a great place.

Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) almost 10 years ago

Hi Todd. I had a similar experience with my HOA. What I did was study the by laws and booted the tyrants out with the help of the majority of the homeowners. It can be done. ~ Lana

Posted by Lana Robbins Realtor ® Licensed Real Estate Broker, Florida and Washington Real Estate (Aloha Kai Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Hi Todd... this definitely sounds like an out of control HOA.  People who live in condos and communities with HOA's also need to learn fiscal responsibility.  I live in a condo and we often have an issue with owners who want a lot of services and amenities but fail to realize that they aren't free and cannot be added without adding overhead... as I always tell them "You can have anything you want, but be prepared for everyone to pay for them."

Posted by Steve Shatsky almost 10 years ago

No trick or treating in the building --- wow -- that is likely the safest place for the kids.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) almost 10 years ago

What about holding board members accountable if they mis-managed the association?

Posted by John Occhi, SRES,CPRES.ePRO - Temecula-Murrieta CA Real Estate (Mason Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

I agree with John...Take the board members to court. Throw them out . Get a judgement . They have a fudiciary responsibility! Reminds me of the new Federal Government.

Posted by Trey Thurmond, College Station , Texas Homes (BCR Realtors) almost 10 years ago

I couldn't believe this HOA and you know they made that rule change about Halloween two days before Halloween so no one could have a chance to change it back. They certainly are out of control in my opinion and legal action in my opinion needs to be taken against them. They have lowered the value of that property way more than what the economy has lowered it.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) almost 10 years ago

Wow, that is a horror story for sure.  I wonder if the rest of the homeowners would have any ability to sue the board for mismanagement.  Seems very bad.  As for the trick or treating, sounds like 5 doors are going to have a "treat" waiting for them.

Posted by Dan Edwards 425-276-7008 (Keller Williams Realty - Bellevue) almost 10 years ago

I have never thought of how an association can affect the prices of units. Sounds like this one is out of control.

Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) almost 10 years ago

Todd - That HOA is definitely out of control.  No trick or treating?  Wow, how sad for the kids and owners for that matter.  I know a lot of adults who look forward to seeing all the different costumes.

Posted by Michelle Gibson, REALTOR (Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. ) almost 10 years ago

Wow this is terrible.  That whole HOA board needs to go.  Todd, your blogs always look so great.  Where do you get your clipart?

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) almost 10 years ago

time to have a hanging. hahahaha

Posted by Angelia Garcia (Pure Realtors) almost 10 years ago

Sounds like some California HOA board members have moved to Oregon. Down here I've heard of some ridiculous rules, too, like no plants on the front porch or sidewalk (supposedly so the firefighters and police can get to the front door); only white curtains or blinds; no vertical blinds, only horizontal; no cars backed in to parking spaces; and other things that really don't make sense to me.

Posted by Jim Frimmer, Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist (HomeSmart Realty West) almost 10 years ago

That is horrible.  Please name the complex or at least drop me an email so I can be aware of this travesty.  Wow.

Posted by Mike Rohrig almost 10 years ago

The HOA is definitely out of control.  There must be something that can be done legally.  What they are doing certainly is not ethical and doesn't sound legal.

Posted by Theodora Wu (TJ Investments) almost 10 years ago

Todd, this is ridiculous! Amazing that there is no good governing body over the group of them! Truly, there should be legal action the residents can take!!!

Posted by Marney Kirk, Towson, Maryland Real Estate (Cummings & Co. Realtors) almost 10 years ago

HOAs and POAs are evil!  I actually went after one in my area a few years back for discriminating against my clients.  I won!!!  Seems in my digging and with a well placed phone call from an attorney that I uncovered the fact that the POA was illegally charging assessments to maintain a lot and well they no longer owned!  Never had another problem with them after that!

Posted by Jeani Codrey, If you're not learning, you're not living! (The Learning Jeani) almost 10 years ago

Hi Todd,  I have served on 2 HOA boards. Most homeowners have no interest in serving on the board, being on a committee or even coming to meetings.  It takes a lot of time and energy to deal with the issues (For Free), attend meetings, phone calls from residents complaining and all that goes with the position.  The more units in a complex, the more issues.

Linda Metallo, Re/max Impact, Lockport, Il.

Posted by Linda Metallo DiBenardo (RE/MAX Impact, Lockport, Illinois) almost 10 years ago

This HOA reminds me of the Soup NAZI on Seinfeld ..."No Halloween for you !" Tell me this is an active age community to explain the crotchety anti trick-or-treat mentality. Grassroot support should help to "throw the bums out". Hope it gets better soon

Posted by Claude Cross, Charlotte NC Homes For Sale (Homes By Cross, Inc. ) almost 10 years ago

That is really a sad story.  It's too bad that the homeowners didn't take action sooner.

Posted by Sybil Campbell, REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia (Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia) almost 10 years ago

IMHO they have way too much control sometimes and IMO need regular audits of the books :)

Posted by Jeff&Grace Safrin, SpousesSellingHousesTM (F.C.Tucker 1st Team Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

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